Growers’ e-Bulletin – June 2, 2017

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2 June, 2017

ABGC board meeting

The ABGC Board met in northern NSW last week. Highlights were the focus on TR4 management, banana marketing, reef regulations and a meeting with Tweed growers.
TR4 Management

Chair Stephen Lowe said the Board discussed ongoing biosecurity measures for the management of TR4.
“ABGC has recently put on a contractor, Shane Dullahide, to help Queensland growers who are at high risk of getting a TR4 infection, prepare for the worst.
“If demand for his services continues to be strong, ABGC would consider extending Shane’s contract.” 
“The Board was pleased with the recent incorporation of on-farm biosecurity into the BMP Guidelines.
The Board also discussed the difference between on-farm biosecurity in the Philippines and in Queensland for TR4.”
Banana Marketing
The Board had a presentation from Hort Innovation’s Banana Marketing Manager, Elisa King, and the banana industry media buying agency, IKON, on progress with the banana marketing program.

Reef Regulation
In regard to reef regulations to be brought into Queensland, the Board discussed how they are likely to align with BMP Guidelines.
“ABGC is being proactive with these regulations because most growers are well placed already, due to their use of the BMP,” Mr Lowe said.
Tweed Valley Growers
Prior to its meeting, the Board and senior ABGC staff met with Tweed Valley growers.  Mr Lowe said it was impressive to see so many keen, young banana growers at the meeting.
“ABGC is now planning to offer mentoring and leadership training to those interested,” he said.
“The Board also visited the Duranbah Trial Site and were shown promising varieties by David Peasley.”
The ABGC Board and senior staff held a special dinner with Mullumbimby grower, Peter Molenaar and his wife Annette to recognise Peter’s work for the industry as an ABGC Director for 10 years.  Peter stepped down as a Director in November.

Congress accommodation

Having trouble finding accommodation for Congress in Sydney this month?
There’s been a big influx of demand on beds, given the event is on at the same time as State of Origin.
If you would like a hand finding something that works for the budget and won’t require helicopter transport to reach the Sheraton/venue, give Hilary a call at the ABGC on (07) 32784786!

Just two weeks left to become a Nuffield scholar!

Applications are closing soon for your chance to join the next wave of dynamic primary producers by becoming a 2018 Nuffield scholar.
One of the world’s most prestigious agricultural study programs, Nuffield scholars are given unique opportunities to influence industry and community change, including;
– Gain insight into global agricultural practices;

– Develop skills and knowledge to promote, support and innovate your industry and region; 

– Research a topic of your choice that will add value to the Australian agriculture industry and your own farm; and 

– Become part of a world-wide network of more than 1,500 Nuffield scholars, giving you access to them and their networks to assist with your scholarship research and overseas travels.
Successful 2018 applicants will commence their program in the Netherlands at the 2018 Contemporary Scholars Conference next March. For more information on this exciting opportunity go to
Scholarships are open to Australians aged between 28-45.  Applications close on Friday, June 16.

$15.9 million project to boost banana defences

A $15.9 million boost to improve banana defences, includes approximately $8 million of cash and is the new Plant Protection Program that is to go for five years involving Queensland DAF, University of Queensland, NSW DPI and NT DPI.

ABGC’s Jim Pekin welcomed the support from the Queensland Government, UQ and the other partners, to better protect the industry from pests and disease.

He clarified that the Program was essential to deliver future industry options, including those regarding Panama TR4, and that it included funds from commercial banana growers.

“Many growers would not be aware that the $8 million in cash for the Plant Protection Program is from Horticulture Innovation Australia, of which about $4 million is from the banana R&D levy.”

Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, Curtis Pitt, said the initiative would benefit banana growers and those employed in the industry’s supply and distribution chain.

Mr Pitt said the Improved Plant Protection for the Banana Industry project will include trials of varieties with better pest and disease resistance.

Permit may be needed to transport banana items

Biosecurity Queensland is reminding anyone who moves banana related items within Queensland and interstate that they may need a biosecurity certificate or permit.
Panama TR4 acting Program Leader Rhiannon Evans says that plant movement restrictions and biosecurity certification protects the industry from pests and diseases and helps prevent the spread of biosecurity threats such as Panama TR4.
“If you transport soil that is from a place where banana plants have been growing or machinery that has been in contact with banana plants, you will be expected to check whether the transportation could spread diseases or pests,” Ms Evans said.
Any material that presents a biosecurity risk must be suitably sourced, treated and packed before a biosecurity certificate can be issued. Queensland has four biosecurity zones that restrict the movement of banana related items in, out and within these zones. Requirements for these zones are outlined in the biosecurity manual.
For advice on moving plants and plant products and a map of Queensland biosecurity zones visit Download a copy of the Queensland Biosecurity Manual at or contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Recovery grants extended

Recovery grants for NSW banana growers impacted by severe flooding and damaging winds caused by ex-tropical Cyclone Debbie have been extended to additional communities.

The grants have been made available through the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) program and are funded by both the State and Federal governments.

The recovery funding has now been extended to include primary producers in Ballina, Byron, Kyogle and Richmond Valley and eligible small businesses and non-profit organisations in parts of Byron and Tweed, including Tumbulgum, Ocean Shores, Mullumbimby and Burringbar.

The funding is designed to compensate primary producers and small businesses that have suffered direct damage as a result of last month’s floods for clean-up, salvaging crops, replacing pasture, purchasing fodder and repairing damaged equipment and machinery.
For more information or to apply for a recovery grant contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit Growers can also contact the Rural Financial Counselling Service on (02) 6662 6191.

Bananas needed to hunt feral pigs

Canegrowers in the Innisfail and Babinda areas are asking for assistance from banana growers to help in a program to control feral pigs.
The Innisfail Babinda Cane Productivity Service has commenced a program to educate growers on how to best manage feral pigs and would like to source bananas for baiting stations and traps.
The service is keen to work with banana growers to help tackle the feral pig problem – particularly to help prevent the spread of TR4.
If you are able to supply bananas for this project please contact ABGC Extension Officer Rob Mayers on 0447 000 203 or email

DAF economists at Congress

Economists from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) will be attending the Australian Banana Industry Congress this year, to discuss findings from their research.
Mark Poggio and Sam Cook from the department’s Agricultural Economics section will not only present their findings, but will also be available to respond to any grower queries or concerns.
The pair are currently undertaking a survey into Banana Best Management Practice (BMP), in an attempt to understand different factors and risks that banana growers face in deciding whether to adopt BMP, in order to identify potential barriers to adoption.
They are looking for growers in the Tully and Innisfail districts to participate in the confidential survey. It takes just 20 minutes to complete and you will go into the draw to win one of three $200 gift vouchers.
Visit the DAF stall at Congress to find out more. Or you can call (07) 3330 4523 or follow the link

Bananas and avocados a good blend

Australian Bananas teamed up with Australian Avocados hosting a stand at the Dietitians Association of Australia Conference held in Hobart from May 18-20.
About 300 dietitians from across Australia attended the conference, providing a great opportunity to discuss the benefits of including bananas and avocados in your diet, which the dietitians can now share with their clients
Australian Banana Ambassador and dietitian Susie Burrell manned the stand. Recipe leaflets were distributed and samples of banana and avocado smoothies were a huge hit.

This e-bulletin is produced by the Australian Banana Growers’ Council as a part of the Communications Project for the Banana Industry funded by HIA Ltd using the banana industry R&D levy and matched funds from the Australian Government.

Contact Details
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